The Google Books settlement is generating a lot of ink over the past few days, with Microsoft wading into the waters. According to PC Magazine, Microsoft filed objections with the Southern District of New York, arguing that Google had no right to “restructure copyright,” and that any changes should be handled by Congress. (Microsoft posted a copy of its brief on its “Microsoft on the Issues” blog.)
Microsoft joins a fairly heavy-hitting group which objects to the settlement, including the American Law Institute (which is responsible for the various Restatements), Amazon, DC Comics, and the American Society of Media Photographers, just to name a few.
Yeah, it’s ironic that Microsoft is complaining about competition given its track record, but don’t discount its sway. (And also don’t discount it’s probably ticked that Google is stirring things up in Europe. Speaking of Europe, Europe isn’t so thrilled with the settlement, either…) As Wired magazine pointed out a few months ago, Microsoft has the DOJ’s ear to a certain degree. And given that the DOJ is investigating the settlement for competitive harm, I’m not so certain that the settlement is completely safe.
(As for whether Congress should be the ones deciding this topic, perhaps Microsoft and the others are right, but it’s not like I trust Congress to keep consumer interests in mind. The DMCA should be proof enough of that….)